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29 october 2012 |

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Revenge: A dish best served superpowered

Adam Browner skulks through Dunwall in this brand new stealth-action success Dishonored Arkane Studios Xbox 360, PS3, PC Out Now CAST adrift in a sea of sequels it’s refreshing to pick up and play a game with only one word in the title and no numbers. Dishonored comes at a time when it’s needed most. It’s refreshing not only because it’s a completely new game on the market but also because it’s fantastic as well. The player takes control of a royal bodyguard as he travels around a fictional city ravaged by plague and oppressed by the government, trying to rid the world of corruption and return the rightful empress to the throne. Along the way the bodyguard picks up numerous abilities and powers that make this job

considerably easier. The gameplay itself is simple yet immensely satisfying. In your right hand you wield a sword and in your left hand you can choose from a wide variety of powers and gadgets. You can teleport, possess people and animals, stop time, throw grenades, plant traps and generally perform ridiculous feats that no normal human could achieve. This allows for some brilliantly creative gameplay that is different from anything you will have played before and gives the player a lot of freedom and control. However, sometimes I’d forget how powerful I was. There were moments when I had died countless times, about to give up when I remembered that I could just stop time and walk past my enemies. Whilst this was a simple solution to the problem it was more satisfying than frustrating and this is the real beauty behind

Love Me Slender

Gemma Joyce takes a look at Slender... from behind the sofa “F***, that was scary!” My unsuspecting flat mate has just endured what he describes as one of the most terrifying experiences of his teenage life, and it came in the form of indie-thriller Slender. The Slender Man is a figure of ambiguous origin; the mysterious stalking creature in acclaimed online horror series Marble Hornets. The series documents the troubled lives of a group of teens who have attracted the wrong kind of attention from a faceless, suit-wearing being with tentacles - and no, it’s not Octodad. The mystery surrounding the Slender Man is definitely a theme that drives the narrative of the story as a whole - a search of Google reveals only contradictory reports on ‘his’ origin, and inquisition into ‘his’ nature is something the game toys with. Be under no illusion, however, that the terror of the game is dependent on prior knowledge of the shadowy figure’s lore.

Slender, made originally for a competition, has swept Internet communities worldwide and has been praised for its incredibly simple, yet spine-tingling single player horror story played out in a dark wood with a dying flashlight. Your main goal is to escape. In order to achieve this, however, you must find eight creepily scrawled ‘notes’ that offer some explanation as to what is threatening you. Look out for chilling messages such as “Always watches...No eyes”. Sounds simple? The killer factor of the game is the intensive psychological manipulation of players. YouTube will provide you with plenty of in-gamebreakdowns - several of which I’ve experienced first hand. You are being followed constantly - can you resist the temptation to check if he’s behind you? Direct sight of the Slender Man causes insanity after a few seconds (and failure), but it’s extremely hard not to check if

Dishonored’s gameplay. The reasoning behind why you were able to perform these actions and most other people couldn’t seems arbitrary; you literally get given all your powers by a bloke in a dream who says he finds you interesting. Whilst there is some attempt to flesh this out later in the game it doesn’t really explain much and the strange dream man remains a bit weird and annoying.

“You’re given the ability to kill everyone in sight with style and panache” Yet, when I’m given the ability to kill everyone in sight with unbelievable style and panache, I don’t appreciate being told not to kill everyone in sight with style and panache. I am a little stunned by the decision to give the player some of the best abilities I’ve ever seen but at the same time encourage them not to use them for violence. At one point in the game I had the ability to stop time as an enemy fired at me, possess the same enemy, walk him in front of his own bullet and unfreeze time. It was incredible. But also frowned upon. Dishonored would rather I went around knocking everyone out and running away again into the shadows. Unlike other video game morality systems where the only consequences to your actions are a bit of a ticking off by the game characters, Dishonored uses a you’re safe. The music is what does it for me; on finding the first note, the drums kick in, the more notes you find the more intense it gets, and if he finds you get ready to throw your earphones away! By the later stages you are likely to be tense and uttering variations on profanities you never knew you could invent... if you’re not cowering under the desk having given in.

“The killer factor of the game is the intensive psychological manipulation of the players” The game is pixellated and simplistic. But this takes nothing from the experience - you’re not meant to see much, which is what triggers the imagination (far scarier than any image a screen can project). When the Slender Man is close white static fills the screen, causing even more confusion. Brace yourselves. Modifications to the original have

system where your actions have a direct consequence on later missions. If, like me, you decided to play the game with wild, evil abandon you will be punished by the game pouring hundreds of enemies into the later missions making it pretty bloody difficult. If anything that just encouraged me to get more violent. And on top of all of this you still get a ticking off by the main characters. The industrial city of Dunwall where Dishonored is set is second only to Bioshock’s Rapture in terms of atmosphere and sheer beauty. Everything in Dishonored has a unique art style that stands out when compared to other games’ attempts to create realistic environments. The levels are big and sprawling which not only allows for plenty of rewarding exploration but it also makes the world feel more alive. You’ll bump into people trying to escape the plague, gangsters trying to

take advantage of the city’s unfortunate situation and corrupt religious heretics using their power for evil. People are going to make inevitable comparisons between Dishonored and games like Bioshock and Half-Life 2. But, at the end of the day, it’s becoming increasingly hard for developers to come up with an original game that doesn’t borrow somewhat from other games that have proved to be successful. Not to mention how risky it has become for developers to even consider an original game when it seems like all people want to play are the various sequels of Call of Duty and FIFA. So yes, Dishonored does take lots of things from lots of games. But those things that it does take are awesome and the final product that is created from these elements feels fresh and engaging.

allowed for a number of new maps to become popularised - we now have ‘Mansion,’ ‘Sanatorium’ and even ‘Kindergarten’, not to mention various other extras such the as hilarious “$20” edition, but make sure you’ve played the original first.

Available for free download from a number of online sources, Slender is a game that can only be played alone in a darkened room with earphones and the volume on maximum - just be prepared to never feel comfortable in the woods again. Ever.

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2012/13 Week 6 Issue 599  

Students are struck by a spate of attacks in Exeter, and we launch our Save Our Sreetlights campaign. Screen review the new Bond film, while...

2012/13 Week 6 Issue 599  

Students are struck by a spate of attacks in Exeter, and we launch our Save Our Sreetlights campaign. Screen review the new Bond film, while...

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